ATR plane of Yeti Airlines crashed on Magh 1 in Pokhara. After the accident, some took to social media to criticize the airlines for flying old planes.

Buddha Airlines:

Similarly, others also questioned ATR, which is considered a safe and big ship for travel.

What are the ATR aircraft currently flying with us? How many years do these aircraft have a lifespan ie how many time/years after flying are these aircraft grounded?

We have spoken to technical experts in the aviation sector about this.

According to them, the ATR planes that fly to us are made in France. ATR Aircraft was established in 1981.

The company made its first flight in 1984 with the ATR-42. About two years later, in 1986, it launched the ATR-72. This aircraft made its first flight in October 1988.

Pokhara Plane Crash:

Currently, the company is producing ships of different versions of these two models.

So far, the company has sold its aircraft to more than 200 airlines in more than 100 countries.

At present, ATR Aircraft is manufacturing four models of aircraft namely ATR 42-600, ATR 42-600S (Stole), ATR 72-600 and ATR 72-600F (Freighter). ATR-600 has been in production since 2007.

The company previously produced ATR 42-320, ATR 42-500 and ATR 72-500 series of ships.

While 600 different versions of the ATR-42 and 72 are being produced, the ATR-42-320 and ATR-72-500, which were built two decades ago, are still in flight in Nepal.

Buddha and Yeti Airlines are flying these flights.

Buddha is flying a total of 14 aircraft of three ATR 42-320 and 11 ATR 72-500 models.

Yeti introduced ATR aircraft in 2019. The N ‘9 ANG’ ATR 72-500 aircraft that Yeti started flying was produced in 2007.

It has been 16 years since the plane started flying. Along with this, Yeti is currently flying with five ATR 72-500 aircraft that are 10 to 15 years old.

Budha has the oldest ATR aircraft currently in flight. The ‘9N AIT’ ATR 42-320 aircraft being flown by Buddha was manufactured in 1996.

It has been 27 years since it started flying.

In Nepal, this ship started flying from September 2008. Another aircraft of Buddha ‘9N AJO’ ATR 72-500 aircraft was built in 1997.

It has been 26 years since this aircraft was produced. Buddha has been flying with this plane since 2011.

Along with these, Buddha currently has ATR aircraft manufactured between 13 and 27 years ago.

The two ATRs (42-320, 72-500) that have started flying will fly for the next year and a half, the company said.

Yeti Airlines:

After that, the flight life of both the ships will end and they will stop flying, says Mangesh Thapa, Director of Engineering Department of Buddha.

According to him, ships that have reached the end of their lifespan cannot fly.

‘These two ATRs have completed 63,000 cycles in flight,’ he told Setopati, ‘after one and a half years, these aircraft will not fly. The engine, wings, landing gear and other materials in it can be reused.’

The life of the ship is specified by the manufacturer.

According to director Thapa, the lifespan of an ATR aircraft is 70,000 cycles.

A cycle is the time that any aircraft takes off once and lands at another airport.

Once the engine shuts down, one cycle period of the aircraft is completed.

He said that the lifespan of the equipment and machines used in the aircraft depends on three things. First flight hours, second cycle and third landing.

Aircraft structure, attached equipment, parts, engine, landing gear, etc. are all subjected to cursory observation and detailed examination.

“Every day before the start of the flight and after the flight, the ship is checked,” Thapa said.

Every flight has pre-flight safety standards since the aircraft was manufactured. All those standards must be followed. He also says that there will be regular checks and tests.

Parts must be changed on a fixed schedule. He informed that the ship will be safe if the work is done according to the standards set in this way.

The life of aircraft engines and all materials is fixed.

According to Director Thapa, at some point some problem was noticed in the plane and even if the material is not changed immediately, it can fly.

But in this case the basic materials (minimum equipment) required in the ship should be fine.

“By the time the ATR completes its 750-hour flight duration, all its parts must be tested,” he told “this is called one-a-schedule maintenance.”

In some cases, if something is wrong with the ship, it has to be repaired immediately by landing at the nearest airport.’

According to him, a technical check is done before any ship is launched.

Technicians inspect the aircraft before the pilot sits in the cockpit. Again, the engineer checks that the technician’s check is OK.

Only then is the pilot allowed to fly the ship. After this, if the pilot is fit for flight, he should submit a letter of approval in writing with his signature, director Thapa says.

All airlines have set up a separate department at the airport for such work.

Similarly, if the pilot notices a problem before the flight, the aircraft is taken to the hangar (a place where aircraft are repaired) and repaired.

Buddha currently has 260 technical engineers.

He said that after introducing the ATR, it has been doing all its maintenance, inspection, testing etc. by itself.

If it is not possible in Nepal, it is sent to repair centers in foreign countries.

Yeti Airlines spokesperson Surdshan Bertaula also says that flights will be conducted only after checking everything.

“Every day, after every flight, there is a general inspection of the plane,” he said.

Yeti currently does not have a hangar to house ATR aircraft. Therefore, if there is a problem with the ATR, it will be taken to Nepalgunj Airport, said spokesperson Bertaula.

The hangar for all the ships flying in Nepal is in Nepalgunj.

Sometimes it takes several days for repairs. In that case, the hangar of Nepalgunj airport will be taken,’ he said.

He informed that Yeti has more than 100 technical engineers. General checks and replacement of materials, if necessary, are carried out by the technician.

If there is a major problem, the concerned airlines inform the manufacturer.

According to the spokesperson Bertaula, no material can be changed without asking the manufacturer company and without taking the permission of Nepal Civil Aviation Authority.

‘If there is a common problem, we solve it here.

But some problems are also complex. In such a case, a technician has to be brought from the manufacturing company as well,’ he said.

Apart from this, he said that the ship will be flyable if regular checks and repairs are carried out according to the schedule.

#NepalAirlines #BuddhaAir #YetiAir #Flights #Pokhara

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